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February 9, 2006

WA man to receive two cochlear implants at once

From: ABC Online, Australia - Feb 9, 2006

An operation to restore full hearing to a 25-year-old man by simultaneously implanting two cochlear devices will be performed for the first time in Western Australia today.

Danny Clarke lost hearing to one ear in a childhood accident but became totally deaf after being assaulted by an unknown man as he left a nightclub last year.

The director of the Lions Ear and Hearing Institute, Professor Marcus Atlas, will carry out Mr Clarke's procedure and says the delicate surgery will take at least three and a half hours to perform.

"We've got some challenges in the operating theatre because we've got to operate on two ears which means we have to have stability on both sides of the head," he said.

"We have to undertake some of the surgery in one ear and then some of the surgery in the other ear, then go back to the first ear and put the implant in, then go back to the second ear and put the implant in that side.

"So there are certainly some surgical challenges."

The operation will cost Mr Clarke almost $80,000 which he has achieved through generous donations.

Mr Clarke says he holds no grudges towards his attacker but does miss some familiar sounds.

"Most of all, it would have to be the voices of my friends and family but also a close third is music," he said

"I definitely miss music a lot so I look forward to hearing the sounds of that again soon hopefully."

© 2006 Australian Broadcasting Corporation